SI Cover of Lindsey Vonn Ignites Controversy

5 Feb

Sports Action Pose or Sexualized Pose?

Usually, it’s the annual swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated that raises eyebrows. The center of the firestorm this time is the cover shot of US skier, Lindsey Vonn, two-time World Cup Champion on the Winter Olympics preview issue.

The controversy surrounds the pose of the skier, who is bent over in what some critics call a “sexualized” position. Others contend the cover focuses too much on Vonn’s appearance (sophisticated makeup and flowing hair) which detracts from her athletic abilities.

Leading the criticism is Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi who writes on her blog: “When females are featured on the cover of SI, they are more likely than not to be in sexualized poses and not in action-and the most recent Vonn cover is no exception.” She considers Vonn’s pose as a “passive shot,” in which she provocatively smiles at the camera while simulating skiing.

Readers on the Women Talk Sports site, which promotes and empowers female athleticism, are weighing in with mixed reactions. Some comment that Vonn is posing in a tuck position, a stance skiers take for downhill skiing. Others believe the cover is an example of the sexual objectification of women.

While everyone dissects the cover and what it suggests, Vonn is focused on the Women’s Alpine Skiing event for Vancouver 2010 on February 14th, for which her goal is to “win one medal and it doesn’t matter what color.” Check out  Lindsey Vonn’s Facebook page, where she’ll be providing updates during the Olympics.

Update: Lindsey Vonn, who has also appeared in the SI Swimsuit 2010 edition, revealed on the Today Show that she suffered a serious shin injury a week ago in training. She had fluid drained from the deep bruise, which she has been told will take “a couple of weeks” to completely heal.